Best Exhausts for Harley Heritage Softail

When it comes to Harley Davidson Heritage Softails, I’m as passionate about the exhausts as I am about the bikes themselves. In this review, I’m diving deep into the performance, build quality, and of course, that heart-thumping sound of each Harley Davidson Heritage exhaust. Trust me, my opinions aren’t just whims or personal biases; they’re backed up by real-world testing and evaluation. I’ve felt these exhausts, heard them, and pushed them to their limits.

Among all the ones I’ve tried, Vance & Hines’ Big Radius exhaust remains one of my absolute favorites for the Harley Davidson Heritage. Its durability, power, and exquisite sound profile just can’t be beaten.

I know choosing the best exhaust for your Harley Davidson Heritage Softail can be a daunting task. But don’t worry. I’ve been reviewing motorcycle accessories professionally for over a decade, and I can spot a good exhaust from a mile away. 

Stay with me, and I’ll share more of my hands-on thoughts on the best Harley Davidson Heritage Softail exhausts. Believe me, this is the stuff that turns a great ride into an unforgettable one.

Overall Best

Vance & Hines Big Radius Exhaust For Harley Softail 1986-2017

V&H’s Big Radius isn’t just another exhaust for the Harley Davidson Heritage; it’s a personal recommendation. I’ve tested this true dual exhaust myself, and it’s the full package. Its loud, powerful sound profile and beefed-up torque combined with a functional yet sexy design left me in awe.

I’ve seen a lot of V&H pipes, but this one continues to showcase their commitment to premium construction. Made of high-grade stainless steel, the build is lightweight yet incredibly durable. It stood up to everything I threw at it, handling high exhaust pressure and heat without breaking a sweat.

Now, let’s talk performance. I was genuinely floored by the enhanced horsepower and torque figures. Thanks to a free-flowing exhaust design, my Harley Davidson Heritage operated at peak efficiency, rocketing to 60 like never before. The bump in low-end torque? Oh, you feel that, and it’s not just a fleeting sensation; this improvement pervades the entire rev range, making passing on the highway a breeze.

What makes riding the Heritage even more fun with this exhaust are the nifty features V&H provides. Full coverage heat shields, a ‘blue-proof’ finish, and a curved design that positions this exhaust higher than stock to prevent any unwanted bumps or scrapes. They’ve thought of everything.

And the sound? Oh, let me tell you, this Harley Heritage exhaust produces an exhaust note that became an instant favorite of mine. Louder than stock, yes, but also richer, more full-sounding. That bass focus gives it that classic Harley thump, and don’t even get me started on the unique startup sound on cold starts. It’s pure music to my ears – *chef’s kiss* indeed!

The cherry on top? This exhaust fits almost every Harley Davidson Heritage powertrain. Whether it’s the Big Twin, Milwaukee 8, or anything else, you’re covered. Trust me, this is a choice you won’t regret.

  • Eye-catching design
  • Healthy power bump compared to stock
  • Better performance throughout the rev range
  • Integrated full-coverage heat shields
  • Pipes won’t blue over time
  • Loud and powerful sounding exhaust note
  • Bass-heavy sound profile
  • Lighter than stock pipes
  • Best build quality on the market
  • Premium stainless steel used
  • Free flow architecture
  • Awesome fluttering sound on startup
  • Design accentuates the Road King’s lines
  • Styling may not be to everyone’s taste

Best Budget

Vance & Hines 3″ Round Twin Slash Slip-On Mufflers For Harley Softail 2007-2017

Another V&H masterpiece caught my eye, this one tailored for the Harley Davidson Heritage. As a slip-on, it offered everything I could wish for: a loud, beefy sound, top-notch materials, and a design that’s cool yet understated. And the best part? It’s not going to break the bank.

When I first laid eyes on this slip-on style exhaust, I was struck by its aggressive, yet subtle demeanor. Those slash-cut ends told me right away that it meant business, but without that over-the-top flashiness you find in some other exhausts. The choice of chrome or satin black? A personal touch I appreciated.

Feeling it in my hands, the premium build was obvious. Lightweight stainless steel and a completely blue-proof finish made me realize that this wasn’t just a pretty face. The full-coverage heat shields, carried over from Vance & Hines’ more expensive models, promised comfortable long rides even on sweltering days.

Now, I must admit, these Harley Davidson slip-ons didn’t supercharge my bike’s power. That’s something you’d expect with slip-ons, but credit must go to V&H for their special free-flow design. Riding around, I noticed a smoother throttle response, and the lighter weight genuinely enhanced low-speed maneuvering.

But where this exhaust truly shined was in the sound department. After fitting it, I fired up my Harley, and V&H’s mastery was evident. The engine roared a few extra dBs louder, the exhaust note richer and fuller, and it carried a deeper, more aggressive tone than stock. That sound alone set this slip-on apart from anything else I’d tried – a cut above the rest, no doubt about it.

  • Stainless steel build
  • Lightweight design
  • Available in chrome and black
  • TIG welds
  • Great backpressure
  • Added performance
  • Anti-bluing design
  • Integrated full-coverage heat shields
  • Loudest Vance & Hines slip-on exhaust
  • Deep and beefy sound profile
  • Better throttle response
  • The bike accelerates faster
  • Compatible with a most modern Heritage models
  • Budget-friendly slip-on
  • It’s a slip-on, so the performance is a bit lacking

Worthy Consideration

Bassani Radial Sweepers Exhaust With Heat Shields

Bassani’s Radial Sweepers caught my attention as I’d often seen them top recommendations, and I wanted to know why. Was it the design that promised performance? The robust construction? Or perhaps that exhaust note they say is unmatched in the world of Harley Davidson Heritage? I had to find out for myself.

First things first, I looked closely at the build quality and design. These ‘shorty’ pipes specifically crafted for the Harley Davidson Heritage boast 16-gauge, double-wall steel. I could feel the durable build in my hands, significantly lighter than stock, promising easier installation and deft handling at low speeds.

Admiring the design, the backswept pipes and slash-cut ends appealed to me instantly. However, I noticed something odd about the heat shields; they didn’t seem to be the most effective. Indeed, once mounted, the exhaust’s high position made me feel some heat on my legs while riding.

But that higher position also brought a bonus – no more worrying about the exhaust scraping on any bumps. I was starting to see why these were so well-regarded.

Hitting the road, the performance boost was immediately noticeable. The shorter design and free-flowing architecture gave my bike new life, accelerating faster, passing other vehicles like they were standing still, and feeling altogether more agile. This was something else!

Then came the sound – the real highlight of Bassani’s Radial Sweepers. Deep, rumbly, and louder than any other model, this exhaust’s sound profile was a revelation. At idle, my Harley growled menacingly; with a twist of the throttle, it roared to life in a way I’d never experienced.

But I quickly discovered the sound might be too much. It’s so loud that I found myself reaching for ear protection. And there it was, the reason these weren’t higher on my list. The sound was intoxicating, but maybe just too much for everyday riding, coupled with the issue of the excessive heat.

But if loud and high-performing is what you’re after for your Harley Davidson Heritage Softail, Bassani’s Radial Sweepers might be just the ticket. It’s not for everyone, but for those who crave that extreme experience, it’s the exhaust to have.

  • 16-gauge double-wall steel
  • Mounts higher on the bike
  • Does not scrape on bumps
  • Lightweight
  • Aggressive exhaust sound
  • Low-end torque gets a nice bump
  • The bike is faster off the line
  • Passing and merging on the highway is easier
  • Heat shields on the pipes
  • Even with heat shields, some exhaust heat is to be expected
Hugo Alais

Hi, I'm Hugo, I'm a motorcycle enthusiast who’s been riding for the last 10 years. I'm passionate about all things motorcycles and started Bikes Future to help other riders make the right motorcycle moves. I ride a white Kawasaki Ninja 400. You can find out more about me and my experience with motorcycling here.